DOD ISSUES GUIDANCE ENCOURAGING CONTRACTOR DIALOG
On the heels of a recent Air Force’s moratorium on speaking to the press, the Pentagon’s #2 official has issued guidance saying that DOD personnel should, indeed, continue to speak with contractors. The March 2nd memo issued by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan states, “Leaders must talk with personnel about the importance of having dialogue with industry and help them understand the parameters for doing so.” The guidance is even titled “Engaging With Industry”, in case anyone at DOD is confused about whether contractor discussions are permissible, even as other parts of the agency shut the door on public dialog. The directive is good news for contractors, as many had been justifiably concerned about the potential for an out-sized reaction across DOD due to the Air Force’s announcement on March 1st. Effective and efficient acquisition relies on the ability to maintain open channels of communication. The government ultimately suffers from less well-constructed RFP’s or RFQ’s and, thus, less precise responses from industry that inevitably price-in the possibility for uncertainty that comes from insufficient communication.